Overclocking Your Car

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I’ve often said that overclocking is the hot-rodding of the 21st century, but it turns out that the actual hotrodders are using computers to do the same thing with cars.

The other day, The New York Times had an article about this (you may have to register for a free subscription).

To be sure, this is a little more involved than the typical computer overclock, but the general principles are the same: you basically change the settings to tap into the extra but latent power designed into the CPU engine.

What these folks do is take relatively cheap cars like Honda Civics and use computers to increase their performance so they can compete against much more expensive cars. Just like overclocking.

Just as computer overclockers go into the BIOS; car overclockers modify the ECUs (engine control units) to maximize performance. And just like extreme computer overclocking, you have extreme car overclocking, like having a nitrous oxide injection system controlled by a Palm Pilot.

Here’s a few initial links to places that do this sort of thing:

Hondata (provides tools for reprogramming Honda engines)
Zdyne (another place that provides tools for reprogramming Honda engines)
Zdyne (reprograms EPROMs for a variety of older cars)
A’PEXi (builds a fuel computer)
Venom Performance (has the Palm/nitrous oxide system)
ProDATA Microelectronics (provides diagnostic equipment and software)

These links are just meant to get you started if you’re interested in this. We are clueless as to how good or not any of these particular products are, but there seems to be many car-related forums out there where you can ask.

If any of you already are into this, or get into this, and have other or better links, or have done this and would like to write an article about your experience, you know where to find me.

Email Ed

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